About this Research Topic
Both RNA and DNA viruses encode non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Emerging evidence has proven that various ncRNAs such as microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, and circular RNAs regulate different elements of viral life cycles, including viral gene expression, replication, release of virions, maintaining viral latency, viral transformation, and pathogenesis. Recent work has revealed a critical role for viral ncRNAs in antagonizing host innate immune responses to viral infection. It also has become evident that viral circulating extracellular ncRNAs are mediators of cell-to-cell communication prompting their consideration as both diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Elucidating all the functions ascribed to viral ncRNAs requires their genetic manipulation to disentangle their roles from those of other viral and cellular genes.
Recent advances in the development of comprehensive genetic approaches such as next-generation DNA and RNA sequencing and CRISPR screens have advanced the characterization of ncRNAs. Although large numbers of viral ncRNAs have been identified, most of them have not yet been assigned functions. This absence arises from the complex regulation of their expression and the need to focus on each ncRNA individually.
This Research Topic highlights the latest advances in analyzing ncRNAs by taking advantage of emerging genetic approaches to dissect their functions in viral lifecycles and to explore their potential use as diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets.
The scope mainly focuses on but is not limited to the following subjects:
• emerging methods, tools and genetic strategies to analyze viral ncRNAs
• novel functions of ncRNAs in viral life cycles
• novel functions of ncRNAs in host defence, viral pathogenesis, and virulence
• functional interactions between viral and host ncRNAs
• potential application of ncRNAs as novel diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets in viral infectious diseases
Keywords: non-coding RNAs, genetic approaches, next-generation sequencing, CRISPR screens
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